Happy mid-week, everybody! It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means—another #WritingWednesday post. Today’s excerpt is the start of the third chapter of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. If you wanna check out the first two chapters, I’ve posted parts on previous #WritingWednesday posts, but the full thing is here.
This is everything I have written so far—like I mentioned on Friday, I can barely function. I’m surprised I even wrote last week!
This chapter is called “London Beckoned Songs About Money Written By Machines,” and it is the third song on the album. So if you know the tracklist for the album, then you know the titles of the forthcoming chapters.
Hope you enjoy this excerpt. I apologize that it’s not much, but it was the best I could do. See you next week! xx
Élodie Mercier’s real age isn’t eighteen; she’s twenty-two. Born to a French father and Martiniquais mother who unfortunately died shortly after giving birth, she grew up an outcast and lived majority of her childhood friendless. Despite her father’s nobility and gaining the education of a respectable lady, every aristocratic family in Paris forbade their daughters from playing with young Élodie. Everyone turned their backs on Jacques Mercier’s daughter simply because she’s different—everyone except the Molyneuxs.
David and Hélène Molyneux didn’t believe the color of Élodie’s skin mattered. Her father was a close friend of theirs, and any daughter of his was bound to be more ladylike than their hoity acquaintances. Élodie grew up a proper young lady, proving the Molyneuxs right. But her upbringing didn’t matter to her peers’ parents; her melanin and interest in “witch craft” created the divide.
When Élodie was five, Madeline Rochefort’s dolls disappeared after she requested Élodie should show her a magic trick. When Élodie was ten, Madeline Rochefort witnessed her vanish right before her eyes—no door to a building or walking down the street required to move. Just a snap of Élodie’s finger, and boom! Gone.
Those incidents branded Élodie as a dangerous sorceress—a threat to the city of Paris despite her youth. Only Élodie Mercier could make objects or herself vanish into a cloud of smoke. Only Élodie Mercier could set Madeline Rochefort’s hair on fire (by accident) or release frogs on little girls who spoke down on her. Her tricks were harmless fun, but it didn’t seem that way to everyone else.
“What’s the worst prank you’ve ever pulled?” Freddie wonders as he reaches for a chocolate macaroon from the table.
“Black magic on you, apparently,” she laughs, amusingly throwing her head back and running a hand through her curls.
“How so? You seem harmless minus kidnapping me two hundred and ten years away from my French class. Who’s that Maddie girl you keep mentioning, anyways?”
“You hail from like, the richest family in the country and Madeline was dead GONE about you!”
“‘Dead gone?’ If you’re gonna catch me up, speak in terms I can comprehend.”
“Alright, how about this? She had a huge crush on you. Madeline’s father tried to convince your dad to set you two up. He’d visit your dad at the asylum and attempt to make deals, but you weren’t interested since you were friends with me and never saw your dad since he was taken away. The Rocheforts thought I used black magic to make you like me.”
“Did you make me drink some secret potion? Is that why they thought you used black magic?” Freddie teases.
“No, you idiot!” Élodie rebukes, pushing him aside. “This isn’t a Little Mix song, you know! They don’t even exist here! It’s just, we’ve always been tight. You were the only friend I had, so you were quite protective when everyone else thought I was a crazy freak.”
“They tried to kill her,” Jean-Claude mentions. He sighs and shakes his head. “She was only sixteen at the time—completely harmless! What monster tries to burn an innocent girl at the stake?”
“A stake? And burning?” Freddie questions in disbelief, eyeing Élodie. “What is this, the Salem witch trials? Geeze, this isn’t colonial Massachusetts! And I thought La Troisième République wasn’t that bad when I learned about it in history class. But the government did fall after Hitler t—”
Freddie ceases rambling once he catches Jean-Claude’s eye. Mentioning Hitler when World War II has yet to commence would be confusing to anyone at the start of the 19th Century.
“It was the Rocheforts’ word against mine,” Élodie grumpily clarifies, crossing her arms over her chest. “I managed to apparate before the fire could reach my shoes. I’m kinda like your dad; we’re both runaways.”
“Okay…Mom committed suicide and Dad was locked in an asylum. What about me?”
“I kept a keen eye on you until you were old enough to figure out what happened,” Jean-Claude interrupts. “Monsieur Rochefort adamantly wanted you for his daughter.”
“He’ll do anything to please her!” Élodie disgustedly remarks. “She’s his only child, and he adores the crap out of her. What Madeline Rochefort wants, she usually gets.”
“Unless it’s me because you bewitched me into being your friend, and that Barbeman guy failed to kill me,” Freddie points out. He taps an index finger on his chin and furrows his brows in thought. “Who is he? Why did he specifically target my family?”
“He has his reasons,” Jean-Claude answers. He turns to Élodie and sternly regards her in a fatherly manner. “We should get Freddie in proper clothes before we head out. He’d stick out, and we don’t want anyone staring at him when he’s supposed to be dead.”
Élodie nods and rises. Jean-Claude follows her lead. Freddie looks from one person to the other, seemingly perplexed to his new comrades. He stares down at his Vans, skinny jeans, and touches the State Champs logo on his shirt. After a sigh of defeat, he stands.
“What’s eating you?” Élodie asks. “Too much to handle? If I could take you back to 2017, I could. Unfortunately, we’re stuck here for a bit. Madame Ptolemy’s gonna have to kill me later for kidnapping her student.”
“This is daunting,” Freddie replies as he anxiously rubs the back of his neck. “I’m just bummed about wearing formal clothes now, and for way longer than a few hours! Goodbye, comfortable clothes!”
“You’ll get used to it, Monsieur Freddie,” Jean-Claude assures him.
“Where are you guys taking me now?”
“We’re paying a visit to a certain Madeline Rochefort,” Élodie hints. With a wicked laugh, she adds, “Maddie will FREAK OUT when she sees you!”